Friday, February 10, 2012

What I Wish I Had Known at the Beginning

There are a few things that I wish I had known when I started my tai chi training. I would have learned faster and easier. Here are 5 things to keep in mind:

1. Relinquish your attachment to perfection.
All beginners want to move perfectly and match the teacher's movements. Get over it as quickly as you can. Your teacher has years of practice to learn how to move correctly. Just keep practicing with the goal of making progress. You don't have to be perfect.

2. The movements are important, but what counts is the principles.
I used to think that the movements of the forms was what made tai chi what it is. I was on a journey to learn more and more tai chi forms. I was so wrong! Pay attention when your teacher talks about the principles of tai chi. That's what counts.

3. There's more than one way to do tai chi.
Many people are certain that their style, or school, or method is the best. If you are meeting your goals, what you are doing is the good for you. If you want to practice tai chi as a martial art, that's great. If you want to practice tai chi for health, that's great, too.

4. It takes time to see results.
Whatever your goals are, you won't reach them right away. Tai chi takes time to learn. It will seem like nothing is happening for a long time. Keep a record of your training, practice, and how you feel so you can go back and see if you are making progress. Expect that you will start to see results after about 10 to 12 weeks of lessons and practice.

5. Practice, practice, practice.
Tai chi is an experiential process. You need to move through the plateaus as your muscles learn the movements and as you learn the principles. Every once in a while, you will have an "aha!" moment as you finally understand something your teacher has been telling you.

What's your list of things you wish you had known? Leave a comment.

© 2012 Eric Borreson